Ideal height for coturnix quail pen

Discussion in 'Quail' started by sjshaw1980, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. sjshaw1980

    sjshaw1980 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey everyone,
    My husband and I decided to start on a quail project, and I have a couple of questions for more experienced quail-keepers than myself. We presently have 65 mixed (tibetan, Texas A&M, manchurian and jumbo pharaoh) eggs in my sparkly new hovabator which are due to hatch around the 25th.

    I am also in the process of building a large, indoor pen system for the quail once they are out of the brooder. My question is this. I've seen plans for quail pens all over the internet, most of which have the height at 24", and I have started building mine based on that standard height. I've also seen more than a few posts and articles here and elsewhere discussing quail's vertical flight startle response and the potential for them to injure or kill themselves if the roof of their enclosure is too high. So exactly how high is the ideal pen? I don't want them cramped and stressed, but I also don't want to be finding dead birds that killed themselves b/c I didn't ask enough questions, and built the pen too tall. I've seen recommendations from bigger breeders that the ceiling should be no more than 9", but the plans I've seen have it at 24"...so what's the safest and most space efficient height?

    The pen structure I'm building is double tiered, with two 5' x 2' x 2' (LxWxH) pens secured by a 68" tall frame. The bottom pen is going to be a colony style grow out and laying pen (extra cocks will be culled from that pen and the hens will be left for 9-10 months until I am ready to recycle the flock, and the top will be divided into two breeding pens of 4 birds each. All the wall and ceiling wire is 1"x1" galvanized mesh. Floors are 1/2" x 1/2" galvanized mesh. In all, about 20 sq. ft. of space.

    Since the structure isn't complete yet, I can still make modifications and easily turn each 24" high tier into two 10" high pens with plenty of room for the dropping pan between them. This would create 2 colony pens and 4 breeding pens, essentially doubling my square footage, which would probably be nice for the birds. And since I'm hoping for at least a 60% hatch rate, thats 42 chicks to start with, and potentially 10+ more if I do better than 60% so I will need the space, at least until cull time. So the net result is, I will be either building a second structure identical to the first, or if it's a smarter and safer idea, simply lowering the cielings in the one structure, thus saving myself the space and money required for a second structure.

    Any thoughts and suggestions are appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. James the Bald

    James the Bald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello SJ, I too am building my own quail pens, and I have already ordered eggs. My first pen, I built to a height of 18 inches. I intend that one to be for the hens (and roo) that produce fertilized eggs. Here is a link to an article that recommends a height of 9" (Clich HERE). My next 2 pens will be closer to that height, maybe 12", but it just depends on how I feel and how much waste will be produced. I want to minimize waste, as my current pen ended up giving me a little more unused wood that I intended. I used 2x2x8 furring strips from Lowes or Home Depot for the framework, then screened it just as you plan.
     
  3. sjshaw1980

    sjshaw1980 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes I read that article too James, its actually what prompted me to ask the question in here. In the (non-functioning) game bird forums, people have posted pics of their aviaries and the breeder cages generally look about 10"-12". I'm all for saving space and money but not at the birds expense. So I'm not sure what to do here. Leave the colony pen 24" and make the breeder pens 10" each so I can have all 4 varieties breeding? Ugh! So frustrating b/c there is so little info readily available for newbies....
     
  4. sjshaw1980

    sjshaw1980 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    I've built the back and sides so far, but no dividers or doors yet.
     
  5. James the Bald

    James the Bald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SJ, after reading you initial post over again, it seems as if you don't have too much time for an answer on this. I would recommend a height of 12 inches. I really think 24 inches is too high and may give the birds just enough room to try to get airborne if they are startled. It doesn't seem as if you are too far along to do a little modification. Here is a blog I ran into during my 6 months of researching quail (click HERE); it has a 4 tier quail set up that I would LOVE to try to build, but my carpentry skills are closer to that of Homer Simpson and not Ty Pennington and his crew. The blog is from Ireland, and some of the vocabulary is difficult to read, and measurements are given in mm, but you can easily see that there isn't very much height to this cage.
    I do find it quite odd that there have been some members reviewing this thread, and the only person to have replied was somebody who has less experience than you in raising quail... in everyones defense though, it is Valentines day.
     
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  6. sjshaw1980

    sjshaw1980 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I found that a little odd too.
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    James the Bald is correct here in that quail kept in pens should have a ceiling height of around 12 inches. Any higher and they will flush up and bonk their heads on the roof, resulting in head injuries.

    If you keep them in aviaries, the ceiling needs to be 7+ feet in height.
     
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  8. sjshaw1980

    sjshaw1980 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your input guys. I broke the bottom tier into two sections, one 10", the other 11".
    There is plenty of time to do more work as the chicks will hatch around the 25th, then won't be out of the brooder til the end of march.
    Thanks for tour input, when all is done and ready I will post the plans here for others to use
     
  9. Yinka

    Yinka New Egg

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    What is the preferred cage dimension to store 50 quails?
     
  10. marksouth

    marksouth Out Of The Brooder

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    Im a newbie too but I've built two pens now and recommend when you get to the door make sure you can easily reach all corners of the inside of the pen, because the furtherist corner is where they tend to scamper at roundup time. And make the door just as big as to accommodate your arm and shoulder so one can't scamper by you and escape when you are rounding up another one.

    My doors are 8 inches wide by ten high and I have two in my 8 foot long cage and can reach all corners, but I have long arms. I learned this the hard way when I couldn't reach the corners and they just skedadeled there and laughed at me.
     
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